About Michael Leiter
Michael E. Leiter served as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) until July 2011. He was sworn in as NCTC’s second-ever Director on June 12, 2008, upon his confirmation by the U.S. Senate and after serving as the Acting Director since November 2007. He was initially nominated to serve as Director by President George W. Bush in March 2008 and asked to continue as Director by President Barack Obama in December 2009.
The NCTC has two core missions. The first is to serve as the primary organization in the U.S. government for analysis and integration of all terrorism intelligence. In this role Mr. Leiter reported to the Director of National Intelligence. The second mission is to conduct strategic operational planning for counterterrorism activities integrating all elements of U.S. national power. In this role he reported directly to the President.
From February 2007 to November 2007 Mr. Leiter served as NCTC’s Principal Deputy Director. Before joining NCTC, Mr. Leiter served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). In this role Mr. Leiter assisted in the establishment of the ODNI and coordinated all internal and external operations for the ODNI, to include relationships with the White House, the Departments of Defense, State, Justice, and Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Congress. He was also involved in the development of national intelligence centers, including NCTC and the National Counterproliferation Center, and their integration into the larger Intelligence Community. In addition he served as an intelligence and policy advisor to the DNI and PDDNI.
Prior to his service with the ODNI, Mr. Leiter served as the Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Director of the President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding
Weapons of Mass Destruction (the “Robb-Silberman Commission”). While with the Robb-Silberman Commission, Mr. Leiter focused on reforms of the U.S. Intelligence Community, in particular the development of what is now the National Security Branch of the FBI. From 2002 until 2005 he served with the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. At the Justice Department Mr. Leiter prosecuted a variety of federal crimes, including narcotics offenses, organized crime and racketeering, capital murder, and money laundering.
Immediately prior to his Justice Department service, Mr. Leiter served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States and to Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. From 1991 until 1997 he served as a Naval Flight Officer flying EA-6B Prowlers in the U.S. Navy, participating in U.S., NATO, and UN operations in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq. Mr. Leiter also served as a Harvard Law School human rights fellow with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
Mr. Leiter received his J.D. from Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude and was President of the Harvard Law Review; his B.A. from Columbia University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, to include the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (the highest award for the U.S. Intelligence Community), the Secretary of Defense Outstanding Public Service Medal, the CIA Seal, and the Air Medal (Strike Flight, Three Awards).